A feature of the British far-right scene over recent years has been the rising numbers of Polish extremists active in it. From the political party National Rebirth of Poland (NOP) to right-wing Polish hooligans fighting on our streets, there are few British far-right groups that do not have any links to their Polish extremists.
Here is a brief summary:
National Rebirth of Poland (NOP) has been the highest profile of the Polish far-right groups operating in the UK in recent years largely because it has linked up so publicly with UK far-right groups like National Action (NA) and the National Front (NF).
Its UK group is led by south London-based Arek Rzepinski and is active in London, Glasgow, Exeter, Norwich, Essex, Liverpool and Manchester.
NOP paid the price for its association with the outlawed NA as a number of its members and activists were refused readmission/told not to return to the UK after travelling home to Poland with NA members.
NOP has long entertained British far rightists in drunken shooting practice at a number of legal shooting ranges it uses in Poland. The banning of NA also put the spotlight on the group’s activities both here and at home where it is viewed, apparently, as a minor irritant.
The NOP’s London group suffered some disruption when it was compromised by an alleged member of the Polish security services who had ingratiated himself in its inner circles.
The group signed a “mutual cooperation” pact with the NF which it understands to mean that it is some kind of legal entity in the UK. This misunderstanding is, in the main, down to the ignorance of Kevin Layzell, the NF official who organised the pact.
NOP has also found itself squeezed by the growth of other far-right Polish organisations that have launched activity in the UK. NOP is often scorned and frowned upon by Polish fascists because of its overt nazism.
The group did, however, continue “outreach” work with homeless Poles in British cities, something it hopes will at some stage raise and improve its reputation at home. It was not all charitable works for the group, however, which is struggling for control and prominence on the thriving Polish “White Power” scene that appears to have embedded itself with the British Blood & Honour network.
The introduction of Polish-origin splits about power and cash-hungry ambition as well as a militant group of Polish anti-fascists hunting down Polish fascists in London is not a welcome addition to Blood&Honour’s UK organisers.
The NOP has been working with the Misanthropic Division to offer safe passage through Poland to the Ukraine and to Ireland for those wanting to return in the other direction.
The Patriotic Association “Link”, a far-right cultural group, is led by London-based Mariusz Zawadzki and brings together Polish football hooligans and far-right supporters. Its public face is on Facebook, though this is entirely focused Polish history.
It is associated with Patriae Fidelis, another patriotic group, and the Store4Fans shop in London. Its members are frequently pictured with the Polish Ambassador as well as with the current Polish President.
One of its most prominent supporters is Hayes-based nazi Lukasz Pietraszek who, in November 2017, was jailed for 20 months for his role in the violence that followed a National Action demonstration in Liverpool in 2016.
Pietraszek was named in court as being one of the organisers of a 40-strong Polish mob that attacked police. His mobile phone revealed that he provided the hooded “Polish Hooligan” tops the thugs wore and exchanges with others boasting about good numbers coming from Preston, Crewe and Leeds.
Members of the group attended the Polish Independence March last November. The following day they posted a picture on Facebook of masked men standing behind a banner which read: “Europe will be either white or uninhabited”. The picture has been since deleted. Clearly conscious that the authorities might be taking a closer look at them, the Facebook administrators have removed over 1,000 photos in recent weeks.
A Polish connection was last year’s fascist “must have” item because, when it comes to money and muscle – as National Action and, later, the National Front found out – Polish fascists domiciled in the UK provide access to both.
Access to Poles in the UK opens the gateway to Poland itself and not just as an interesting bolthole. Eurosceptic, and increasingly nationalist, Poland opens the door to large numbers of angry young men and women who flock to far right rallies there.
There are no people more vain and cash-hungry on the British far right than Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen of Britain First. The sheer scale of interest that surrounds their tiny, non-political, political party with dubious morals and an enormous reach into social media does not go unnoticed in Poland. On two occasions in 2017, the pair tried to introduce Jew-hating former priest Jacek Międlar to their very small gatherings. On both occasions, Telford in February and Birmingham in June, Międlar was denied entry.
Międlar’s denial of entry to the was probably no bad thing for Britain First; the descent into antisemitism may well have been a step too far for some of its remaining followers. This has however not stopped some far right Poles in Britain aligning themselves with Britain First.
Piotr Szlachtowicz of ‘Independent Poland’ runs an internet radio show called “Nowy Polski”. Szlachtowicz appears to be obsessed with Fransen in particular and desperate to get her along to as many Polish cultural events as possible, both here and in Poland.
There is a group of 25-30 Polish nazis aligned to Combat 18 and Blood&Honour living in the London area. Among the leading figures are Lucas Cox and Szymon Partyka. Most appear to be in their 30s and 40s and many are also football hooligans. A large number of Polish nazis attended the C18-organised gig in Dagenham in 2016.